Pick & Zabicki LLP v Wu  2017 NY Slip Op 30687(U)  April 4, 2017  Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 155702/2016  Judge: Gerald Lebovits is interesting because, although a generic attorney-fee claim with generic defenses, it is a very complete generic listing.  So, read this case for the long discussion of 20 affirmative defenses and 4 potential counterclaims.  It is a road-map to the standards of each.

“Defendant’s answer raises the following defenses and/or affirmative defenses, numbered 1 through 20: (I) failure to state a cause of action, but plaintiff does not move to dismiss this defense; (2) unclean hands and/or in pari delecto; (3) lack of capacity to sue; ( 4) lack of standing to sue; (5) claim is barred or, in the alternative, plaintiffs damages are the result of its own breach of fiduciary duty, breach of certain agreements, and failure to complete the performance required; (6) lack of damages, or that the damages are inconsequential and de minimis; (7) failure to mitigate; (8) claims were not filed within the applicable statutes of limitations and/or administrative filling periods; (9) plaintiff failed timely and properly to exhaust all necessary administrative, statutory, and/or jurisdictional prerequisites to commence this action; (I 0) waiver and estoppel; (I I) !aches; (12) plaintiff failed to comply with its obligations under the agreement; (13) claims are barred in whole or in part by the existence of the agreement which sets forth the only representation on which the parties were entitled to rely, as well as the parties’ rights and obligations with respect to each other; (14) defendant’s performance was excused, and defendant would have performed its obligations under the contract but for plaintiffs interference with defendant’s ability to perform, to the extent that defendant is found in breach of the contract; (15) insufficiency of service of process; (16) invalid service of process; (17) defendant does not owe the alleged debt and demands proof of the debt and damages plaintiff claims under the alleged contract; (18) lack of capacity to maintain or defend an action in the courts of the State of New York because plaintiff is unlicensed to do business in the State of New York; (19) “[p ]laintiff presented the [ d]efendant a forged contract with his name”; and (20) the purported contract is a fraud because the defendant was absent when it was executed. ”

“Defendant submits a proposed Verified Counterclaim, which includes the following counterclaims:(!) breach of fiduciary duty; (2) legal malpractice; (3) unjust enrichment; and (4) fraud. ”

“Accordingly, it is ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to dismiss the second through the twentieth defenses and/or affirmative defenses is granted; and it is further ORDERED that defendant’s cross-motion to interpose counterclaims is denied; and it is further “

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.